Boris Johnson skirts around question of whether Dominic Cummings took day trip 30 miles from self-isolation in Durham

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Sunday 24 May 2020 18:37
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Boris Johnson skirts question over whether Dominic Cummings took 30 mile day trip during lockdown

Boris Johnson has skirted questions over whether or not Dominic Cummings took a sightseeing trip while the country was in lockdown, as he set out his support for his most senior adviser.

The prime minister gave his full-throated support to his chief aide, after it emerged he took a 260-mile journey during lockdown.

Amid mounting calls for Mr Johnson to sack him, Mr Cummings went into Downing Street just before noon today.

Tory MPs had earlier lined up to say Mr Cummings’s position was untenable following fresh allegations of other trips made while the country was told to stay at home.

But speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said Mr Cummings had “followed the instincts of every father and every parent”.

He said Mr Cummings was right to go to Durham to seek help with childcare.

But asked if Mr Cummings took another trip, to Barnard Castle 30 miles from his family home, on April 12, Mr Johnson said: “As for all the other allegations I have looked at them carefully and I am content that at all times.. he behaved responsibly and correctly”.

Unusually for the press conferences, journalists were not given a follow-up question.

Earlier Transport Secretary Grant Shapps struggled to explain Mr Cummings’s movements during lockdown.

Mr Shapps repeatedly described events and the timeline "as I understand it".

He said he did not know if Mr Cummings had taken a day trip to Barnard Castle on April 12, as reported, but added that would have been after his 14-day isolation period.

He told the Sophy Ridge show: "I certainly know that the first one you mention, of travelling back up (to Durham), I know that is not true."

"I'm afraid I don't know (about Barnard Castle) but if that date was true that would have been outside the 14-day period. But I'm afraid I don't have the information on that.”

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